CAPE MAY COURT HOUSE — A series of wiretaps and undercover drug buys led to the indictment this week of Charles Daniels, a Clayton man charged with leading a Cape May County drug distribution network, as well as 13 other people linked to illegal drug sales in the county.

Daniels, 29, is named in a 17-count indictment alleging he and his co-defendants sold heroin, cocaine and marijuana last year in Middle Township and Wildwood.

Assistant Prosecutor Meghan Hoerner said Wednesday that the investigation’s origins can be traced to last summer. In July, she said, there was a shooting in the Burleigh section of Middle Township. No one died in the incident, but it uncovered a conflict within the Bloods street gang in Cape May County, “and the investigation began” into Daniels and a second man, Daniel Dore, 27, of Middle Township.

Fifteen people were arrested in November in a pre-dawn raid that followed a five-month investigation,

Hoerner said cellphone wiretaps and undercover drug buys by police officers were used to strengthen the investigation, and the case went before a grand jury this week.

That grand jury charged Daniels with being the leader of a narcotics network, a first-degree crime.

The charges state Daniels “did conspire with others as an organizer, supervisor, financier or manager” to market and distribute cocaine and heroin in Cape May County between October and November last year.

Hoerner said the charge comes with a minimum sentence of 25 years in prison and as much as a life sentence.

Daniels and Dore are also charged with the first-degree crime of gang criminality for their part in street gang activity and the distribution of controlled dangerous substances, and with promoting organized street crime, also a first-degree offense.

Both the gang charge and the promoting street crime charge come with prison terms of 15 to 30 years upon conviction.

Taylor said Wednesday that the arrests and indictments were the result of an effort by several law-enforcement agencies, including the county’s Narcotics Task Force.

“We’re hopeful this puts this street gang out of business,” Taylor said.

The men also face various drug-distribution charges for selling cocaine, heroin or marijuana to undercover police officers.

Daniels and Dore remain in the Cape May County jail in lieu of $500,000 and $300,000 bail, respectively.

Others indicted for conspiring with Daniels and Dore to distribute drugs are Brittany E. Kane, Tasha L. Watkins, Amaris R. Tangree, Kimberly C. Jones, Ernest P. McCarraher, Joshua M. Graham, Niki L. Higgins, Richard W. Collins, Jennifer D. Show, Brian C. Will, Luis Garcia and Richard J. Evans.

Contact Trudi Gilfillian:

609-463-6716

Press copy editor since 2006, copy desk chief since 2014. Masters in journalism from Temple University, 2006. My weekly comics blog, Wednesday Morning Quarterback, appears Wednesday mornings at PressofAC.com.